Jofra Archer was ruled out of the Ashes on Tuesday after suffering another stress fracture in the right elbow that has required five operations – leaving his future in huge doubt.
Archer returned from the IPL early to nurse the injury and will be out of action for the whole of this summer, leaving him with a fight to be involved in England’s defence of the 50-over World Cup in India in October.
Realistically, and desperately sadly, it is difficult to ever see him playing Test cricket again.
Managing director Rob Key rued the latest setback for Archer but said he hoped to see him return for England in the near future.
‘It has been a frustrating and upsetting period for Jofra,’ said Key.
England confirmed that Jofra Archer has suffered another stress fracture to his elbow – ruling him out of this summer’s Ashes
Sadly, it is difficult to see Archer ever playing Test cricket for England again after his setback
‘He was making good progress until a recurrence of the elbow injury which kept him out for an extended period previously.
‘I’m hoping at some point, Jofra, who deserves a bit of luck and is distraught about what’s happened, that his luck turns. I’m sure it will. At the moment all cricket has been too much for his body to cope with and we need to get past that.
‘Someone like Jofra is like a Formula 1 car almost. He goes through the period that he’s been through, that’s been really tough, and you just think you get to the point where he can play, but there’s another setback.
‘You just hope down the line he will overcome this and the body will become robust enough to deal with the rigours of everything. I wouldn’t sit here and rule anything out at the moment.’
Key shot down claims he was pursuing a future in white-ball cricket and said he was desperate to play for England ‘whatever the format’.
Managing director Rob Key (L) said Archer was ‘distraught’ about his injury – but denied claims he was headed down the white-ball route
‘The one thing about Jofra is sometimes people think he’s going to go down the white-ball road and there are other things on his mind. That’s absolutely not the case. He’s desperate to play all forms of cricket.’
‘We wish him the best of luck with his recovery and I’m sure we will see Jofra back to his best and winning games for England, whatever the format.’
It came after England took the ‘seriously tough decision’ to drop Ben Foakes and recalled Jonny Bairstow to face Ireland and then Australia in the Ashes.
Key announced on Tuesday that Foakes has been left out of a 15-man squad to face Ireland in England’s Ashes warm-up Test at Lord’s on June 1, with Bairstow fully fit after a freak accident on a golf course left him with a badly broken leg.
Jonny Bairstow returns to the England squad to face Ireland at Lord’s after recovering from his broken leg and dislocated ankle
Ben Foakes has been left out of the squad entirely for the Ireland Test despite strong form
Mark Wood (left) and Chris Woakes (right) take their place in England’s bowling attack again
That means Bairstow will return for the first time since starring for England with six centuries last year in the dual role as keeper-batsman he favoured before the re-emergence of Foakes left the Yorkshireman with a specialist batting role.
He will probably bat at seven with his old position of five now taken by Harry Brook.
‘It was a seriously tough decision to leave Ben Foakes out of the squad,’ said Key.
‘He has been excellent for England in the last year but Jonny Bairstow is one of the best players in the world whose performances last summer epitomised what we are about.’
There are some intriguing selections and decisions in England’s first squad of the summer, notably Ollie Pope being officially made vice-captain.
Jimmy Anderson is in the squad for the Ireland match despite suffering a minor groin injury
Captain Ben Stokes may sit out the Ireland Test in order to be fit in time for the Ashes
That, and the inclusion of Essex batsman Dan Lawrence in the squad, raises the possibility that captain Ben Stokes will miss the Ireland game after suffering a toe injury in the IPL and still nursing the serious knee problem that has seriously affected his bowling.
It is inconceivable to imagine Stokes being absent for the opening Ashes Test at Edgbaston on June 16, even if he plays just as a batsman, but he has already shown disdain for warm-up matches and might just sit out the four-day game against the Irish.
Chris Woakes returns to the Test squad for the first time since March 2022 and is in contention, with Archer and Olly Stone missing, to make his first appearance on home soil since August 2022.
Jimmy Anderson, who suffered a ‘minor’ groin injury playing for Lancashire against Somerset last week, is fit and included in the 15 but may be rested.
England squad for Ireland Test
Lord’s, June 1-4
Ben Stokes (Durham) Captain; James Anderson (Lancashire); Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire); Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire); Harry Brook (Yorkshire); Zak Crawley (Kent); Ben Duckett (Nottinghamshire); Dan Lawrence (Essex); Jack Leach (Somerset); Ollie Pope (Surrey); Matthew Potts (Durham); Ollie Robinson (Sussex); Joe Root (Yorkshire); Chris Woakes (Warwickshire); Mark Wood (Durham)